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The Polite Times 
 A regular newsletter published by The PoliteChild, Inc.
 Vol IV, No 10
Holiday Edition 2005 

In This Issue

1. Holiday Thoughts That Are Sure to Grow On You!

2. Parents Get PoliteChild Placed in Schools

3. Holiday Manners Survival Guide - Our Gift To You!

4.Parent Tip of the Month: Handling Interruptions

5. Want to Become a PoliteChild Licensee?

6. From Our Library...a Review of Let's Talk About Being Rude by Joy Wilt Berry

7. PoliteChild In the News

8. What Can We Do For You?

President’s Corner – Holiday Thoughts that are Sure to Grow on You!

Dear PoliteChild family, supporters, and friends:

Can you believe it? Thanksgiving has come and gone and now it’s the middle of the Fall/Winter Holiday Season (given all the hullabaloo about “holiday trees” and all that politically correct stuff, I don’t dare call it Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa or anything else vaguely discriminating or identifying). Regardless of what you call it, it’s that time of year when we especially call to mind all the good things that we have to be thankful for. Even in a year where so many people have been visited by tragedy, we can take comfort in this: no matter how good or how bad things have been for us, there are always people that are better off, and worse off than we are. Each of us has something we can be thankful for, even in the darkest of moments.

I received an interesting reminder of this in the mail the other day. It came from a local real estate agent, and the actual poem included doesn’t have any credits. If it’s an original work, then my hat goes off to Tina Jimov, President of Tarbell Realtors. I thought it was so adorable, and so I include it here:

   
  Plant a Garden: Living
  First plant three rows of PEAS:
  Persistence, Patience, and Peace of Mind.
  Next, plant four hills of SQUASH:
  Squash gossip, Squash grumbling,
 
Squash selfishness, and Squash apathy.
  Then plant three rows of LETTUCE:
  Let us be kind, Let us be responsible, and Let us be respectful.
 
No garden is complete without TURNIPS:
  Turn up with a smile and Turn up with a healthy attitude.
  Water regularly with confidence and love
 
And let your garden bring forth much fruit.
  If we could all remember to cultivate this,
  no challenge would be too great,
 
and what a wonderful world this would be!

 

What a great sentiment that is! Let’s plant the right attitudes, the right spirit, and cultivate it all with determination and care, and let’s see what we can make of what’s left of 2005, and start 2006 off in the best possible way: with kindness, caring, consideration and compassion!

I’ll live recklessly and hope I don’t offend anyone, but I wish you the happiest of all holiday seasons and a prosperous and healthy New Year!


I love to hear your comments and feedback, so feel free to email me at corinneg@politechild.com.

Corinne Gregory, President & Founder

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  Parents Get PoliteChild Placed in Schools

 

There isn’t a day that goes by when we are asked by a parent, “How can I get PoliteChild in my child’s school?”

The answer is simple: go talk to the school!

Now, we’re not trying to pass the buck; we’re more than able and happy to call on the school and make contact with the principal. But, with schools being torn from one side to another with budget concerns, academic achievement, retaining or recruiting qualified staff…well, usually a call from us gets relegated to the “to do” list somewhere just above buying new book covers.

That’s not to say the principals don’t think social skills and character education isn’t important, but the reality is that priorities (especially financial!) are frequently set based on parent demand. If the parents make enough noise – at the school or district level – then the issue gets attention.

The principals and staff may want the program; they see the benefits, they are excited about the results, and they look forward to being part of the positive culture change in the school. But, it usually comes down to the all-mighty dollar. And, dollars don’t get pried out of their pre-allocated buckets and reassigned unless a strong force is applied.

And, parents are the strongest force a school or district will ever see. Stronger than legislation (in truth, parents are usually the force behind legislative change, too!), stronger than district agendas, stronger than internal politics.

Parents are generally the drivers behind progress in our schools, and we will again need to be the force behind this type of change and reform in our educational system. If you believe PoliteChild is good for your school, then by all means ASK!

For more information on how you can approach your school, or how you can enroll, contact us at info@politechild.com.

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 Holiday Manners Survival Guides – Our Gift to You!

 

Our Holiday Manners Guides have been such a hit in years past, so much so that we have offered them as a permanent feature from our website. Still, there are many readers who are discovering them for the first time and we get requests for them throughout the year. And, with the recent story in the Seattle Times (more on that below) about kids and holiday parties, we felt we should mention them once again in this issue of our newsletter.

To download a copy of the “Holiday Social Survival Guide” for parents and kids that is appropriate for your child’s age, simply go to the home page at www.politechild.com and scroll down on the right of the page where you’ll see the image of the booklet. Click on the image and follow directions to be taken to the download site. And, feel free to share the information about the guide with friends, family, or anyone you think can benefit! It’s our way of saying “thank you” to our friends and supporters. We do ask, of course, that you not use the guides or the information in them in a commercial way: it just wouldn’t be polite, now would it?

We do offer Holiday Manners classes that can be held in your community center, school, or even your home if you want an interactive teaching session! Feel free to contact us at info@politechild.com for classes in your area, or to inquire about hosting a holiday manners class of your own!

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 Parent Tip of the Month: Handling Interruptions

 

If you’ve ever started a conversation – on the phone, in person, even started a task that required your undivided attention, -- no doubt this has happened to you. We call it “interruption magnet.” You know what we mean: no sooner do you start this conversation or phonecall when you are instantly interrupted. Never mind that they didn’t need you the whole previous part of the day. Now they do.

How do you handle pesky interruptions?

First, be sure that you have actually set the right expectations with your child about interruptions. Do they know that when you are on the phone or speaking with someone else (even another child!) that they are only to interrupt if there is a true emergency? Have you defined for them what an emergency would be – “are you on fire, bleeding, is the toilet overflowing?” – so that they understand that their idea of an “emergency” isn’t quite the same as adults’ definition.

Next, explain to them that if their need doesn’t fit into the emergency category, they need to wait quietly and patiently until you have a break. If you want to make sure that they know you have acknowledged their presence, you might give them the “one minute” hand signal – index finger held up in the “one” position. Often children keep interrupting and pestering you because they aren’t sure you know they are there and need you. This way they have visible acknowledgement from you that they have been noticed, and they’re more likely to be patient for you.

Finally, teach them that if they believe the matter is urgent, they should always start with “Excuse me…” and then wait to be acknowledged by you. If you need to break away from your conversation or task, you can ask them if it’s urgent or if it can wait. When you ask them if they can wait, you would ideally give them an idea of how long the wait would be: “Can you wait one minute until Mommy finishes this email message?” or “I understand you need me right away – let me just say goodbye and end my phonecall.”

This has the effect of giving the child a concrete expectation of how long they have to wait, and they know that you understand and appreciate their perceived timeframe or degree of urgency.

Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do but ignore a persistent interrupter. If you’ve done all the steps above and your child still interrupts you, you have to just block out the interruption. You don’t want to get mad or – even worse – give in to the interruption. Getting mad only provides negative reinforcement for the behavior, which can have the opposite effect of what you want: you could be unwittingly reinforcing that undesirable behavior simply because you’ve given it any attention at all.

After your call or conversation is over, it’s then time to respond to your child. But, use this opportunity to explain why you ignored him/her at the time of the interruption. That’s the teaching opportunity, and you can also use positive reinforcement via granting privileges as a method to support the desired behavior. So, for example, for each time your child doesn’t interrupt you during subsequent calls, they can get a “sticker” or a point or some “credit” that can be of value or exchanged for value later. Five points, for example, and they have earned a trip to the ice cream store or the mall. Ten points gets them a special book or a dinner out at a favorite place, etc. It’s positive reinforcement that raises awareness and helps modify the behavior.


Was this Parent Tip valuable? If so, we’d love to hear about it – or let us know what else you’d like to hear about, and we may feature it in an upcoming issue of The PoliteTimes.

Also, check back-issues of The PoliteTimes for more parenting tips and suggestions!

 

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 Want to become a PoliteChild Licensee?

 

Have you wanted to get involved in helping develop good social skills in our young people and participate in changing the world but maybe weren’t sure where to start? The market for child-etiquette, manners and social skills education is nothing short of red-hot, and growing every month according to articles in USA Today and more.


PoliteChild is seeing an increasing demand in all parts across the country – and even internationally. We can’t possibly grow fast enough to serve every section and segment of our society, so we’re looking for the right people to help take our methods and materials into their local communities.

We’re especially interested in finding providers the following areas:

     • San Francisco Bay Area
     • Western Canada
     • Greater Los Angeles, CA and Orange County
     • New York, both in-city and statewide
     • Greater Portland, OR
     • Arizona
     • Northeast US
     • Mid-Atlantic
     • Texas

Join the growing number of PoliteChild affiliates who are taking our proven courses to change the faces of their communities! If you’re interested in joining us or know of someone who is contact us at info@politechild.com or by phone at 866.485.4089. We’ll provide you with information about opportunities, benefits, return on investment, and everything you need to know to make an informed decision about whether being a PoliteChild affiliate is the right business for you!

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  From our library… a Review of Let’s Talk About Being Rude by Joy Wilt Berry

 

Back in the earlier days of The PoliteTimes, the book review section used to be a regular feature of our monthly newsletter. We felt that the newsletter was just getting too long for all the good stuff we could share, but we’ve recently gotten feedback that our readers enjoyed the reviews we’ve done in the past. So, this month, we dig into our library and pull out a book that, while hardly new, does show that good manners and strong social skills are as important today as they were 30 years ago …

 

 

Although short and sweet, this small illustrated book shares an important message and doesn’t waste anytime doing so: the second page of this book is already introducing the Golden Rule that is the cornerstone of how we act toward one another – treat others as you want to be treated. Specifically the purpose of this title is teaching kids that they are being rude if they don’t treat others as though they are as important as they themselves. While this book is intended for the younger preschool set, that concept might be a little complicated for them to understand, but the book than gives examples of being rude and what a child should not do.


Sometimes though, we adults need the lessons as much as our children do. This is a terrific book to locate through your library, used book store or online retailer. Many families feel they can use a refresher lesson of how not to be rude. Our children’s (and adults’, for that matter) behavior is becoming increasingly uncivilized as the generations progress.


When a person is asked today what is rude do they think of being impatient? How many times have we set a bad example for our children by following the rules to our advantage to save a little time? How about being quiet around those who are resting or doing homework? Do our children see us being respectful of their homework time by turning off the TV or keeping interruptions to a minimum?


Most importantly Ms. Berry states “Things should not always happen the way you want them to happen”. This is a tough one to digest, not just for the little ones but for us adults as well. Perhaps we have recounted the day’s events in front of our children and we complain loudly about a bad day at work or a difficult boss. These are natural facts of life in the adult world and rather than preparing our children to always expect things to go their way, it’s better to teach them that they can’t always be first in life. In doing so they will be better prepared to be a productive member of society without the need to have the “Me first!” attitude. Instead it will all go back to the Golden Rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated.


Joy Wilt Berry is the author of over 250 books for children that teach human rights, social and coping skills for the young set. Her most recent titles were published this past year, whereas “Lets Talk About Being Rude” was published in 1982 as part of a Grolier Enterprises Mail Order Book of the Month club for children.

   
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 PoliteChild in the News

 

Here’s where you can find The PoliteChild mentioned in the past several weeks …

PoliteChild appears in a Pennsylvania-based parenting magazine on the importance of teaching our children gratitude – November’s issue!

PoliteChild has appeared once again in San Diego Family Magazine. This article, “Enough is Enough: Do our kids have too much?” talks about whether parents are doing their kids a favor by succumbing to their every whim and wish. A great read as we think about what’s going to appear under the tree this holiday season!

The Seattle Times – December 3rd, 2005 PoliteChild President and Founder, Corinne Gregory shares thoughts on including kids in holiday parties. Full article can be read at: “Kids and Holiday Parties: Ho, Ho, Ho or Uh-oh?

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 What Can We Do For You?

 

The PoliteTimes is continually adding more readers and gaining a broader audience, but we’re continually striving to offer you the right information, news and tips for our newsletters that are interesting and relevant.

Do you have something you’d like to see us cover or have a question you’d like us to answer (privately or through our newsletter)? Is there someone you think should have our newsletter but doesn’t currently subscribe? If so, contact us at info@politechild.com or by phone at 866.485.4089!

We appreciate all those folks who have already written us to give us feedback. We do read each and every one of your letters and take your input seriously! If you don’t get a response from us in 48 hours, please email us again. We’re finding that SPAM filters seem to be overly efficient in blocking out correspondence sometimes, even the correspondence that’s wanted and welcome!

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